SafeAI, Obayashi Unveil Retrofit Electric, Autonomous Haul Truck

SafeAI and Obayashi have unveiled a collaboratively-designed and retrofitted Caterpillar 725 construction heavy hauler. The truck is electrically-driven and fully autonomous. Marking the first time that both autonomy and an electric drive train have been combined as a retrofit on a current production model truck like this.

Just as our autonomous solution is designed to be open and interoperable to be applied to any make or model vehicle, we want our solution also to be powered by any energy source. This project is a step in that direction as it showcases how our autonomous ground vehicle stack is EV-compatible.” —Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO of SafeAI

Several advantages are gained with the combination of automation and electrification. These include higher safety, with employees being removed from dangerous work environments to supervise from afar. And higher efficiency with the 24/7 operations capability of an autonomous truck and lower operating costs thanks to the electric drivetrain. Sustainability for a carbon-neutral option and improved cost-effectiveness are also gains.

SafeAI is working with Obayashi, Siemens, and others to design and retrofit autonomous heavy vehicles for off-road use. The autonomous haul demonstration truck was retrofitted for electric drive by AVIA Engineering.